Playing With Politics

A Blog on Law, Politics, Planning, Development, and Other Vices

Archive for June, 2010

SCOTUS Ruling Against Christian Group is LGBT Victory

Posted by Roobs on June 30, 2010

A case that was probably more interesting to local San Franciscan’s, LGBT and Bay Area legal observers was settled on Monday, June 28.  The case: Christian Legal Society V. Martinez, was ruled in favor of Martinez (aka UC Hastings School of Law) saying that a law school has the legal right to refuse official recognition of a club or group that won’t let gays join.

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Should NGOs Merge or Face Closure?

Posted by Roobs on June 24, 2010

In a true sign of the times, i was on Twitter when one of the users i follow posted a link to this San Francisco Chronicle Article.  The article describes how SF is flushed with non-profit organizations (NGOs) who have contracts with the city to provide social services and how SF is considering cutting funding entirely to some of those organizations as a way to deal with their budget deficit.

The hard truth is there are far too many service providers for this relatively small city. They duplicate efforts, they don’t have enough oversight, and they spend hundreds of millions of city dollars.

Now – and here’s the tough part – with the city facing a historic $483 million deficit, some of them are going to have to go. Or, as the San Francisco Community-Based Organizations Task Force put it in April 2009, they need to be “encouraged to identify their placement within the nonprofit life cycle, and contemplate the possibility of closure.”

Close service organizations? Let the howls of protest begin.

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Confessions of a Third Generation Latino: Dreaming California

Posted by Roobs on June 23, 2010

This is the final post in my series “Confessions of a Third Generation Latino”

Throughout much of this series of posts has been a common theme that i would hope is fairly obvious.  That is, the struggle between myself as a third-generation Mexican finding comfort and brotherhood amongst other generation of Mexicans and Latinos in general.

Because of how i grew up and the socio-economic status of my family, i never truly felt accepted by my fellow Latinos and, therefore, have never truly felt comfortable in situations when i am immersed in that culture.  This was never a question of whether one view is objectively correct over the other; whether or not i represent the better or worse half of American society mixing with Latino culture.  If anything, i would argue that i am far from the ideal.  Generally speaking, i am a Mexican who is, by and large, not that Mexican.  I don’t speak Spanish and don’t really engage in any of the traditional customs of Mexican culture.  I have a decent, though not great, understanding of Mexican history but also love the history and exploration of Mexican cuisine.  So who am I? Is it somehow appropriate that when I’m with a group of more “traditional” Mexicans that when i say “i’m third generation”, they give a collective “oh” as if it is somehow self-explanatory?  Where are we to go from here?

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Posted in Race & Identity, Third Generation Series | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Why Councilman Arreguin is Wrong on BRT

Posted by Roobs on June 18, 2010

This is a follow up to my previous post “Why Berkeley is Wrong on BRT

Councilman Arreguin collecting signatures against Berkeley's Downtown Development Plan. Yea, we fought on that one too.

Somewhere along the line, you would think that the constant barrage of facts and studies would prove some point.  Whether you are for or against something, the general train of thought is that the “correct” argument is the argument that has the most support (data, literature, etc) behind it.  Bus Rapid Transit is a positive thing for the neighborhoods and cities it serves.  There are numerous examples of BRT all around the country and the world.  BRT is nothing new and has been around for decades.  So you would think when Berkeley was asked to consider studying the construction of a fully tricked out BRT system they would take to heart all these examples and past literature and data to make an informed decision.  But Berkeley has its own rules and so does Berkeley City Counciman Jesse Arreguin.

Not since John Kerry’s infamous flip-flop during the 2004 presidential campaign against George W. Bush have we seen an example of moving back and forth on the same issue as we see with Councilman Arreguin on BRT in Berkeley.  Except in this case, Councilman Arreguin first didnt vote for anything, then indicated he would vote for it before finally voting against it.

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Posted in Economic Development, Politics, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Confessions of a Third Generation Latino: Common Space

Posted by Roobs on June 15, 2010

This is the fifth and second-to-last post in my series.  The last post focused on my time in college.  This post transitions my views into the real world.

Common Space

While still at Cal, I tried to spend my last years studying and preparing for my graduation but i still found myself involved in the struggle between my identity as a Latino but struggle to find a place where other Latinos would also accept me as part of their community.  But I didn’t feel as alone as i once had.

After reading so far into this blog, you may feel as if i beleive their are only two faces of the Latino community.  Those in my position and those not.  However, this would ignore the many shades in between.

Both while at Cal and after graduating, i was working for a law firm in a nearby city.  The supervisor there was a very attractive older Mexican woman who, like me, was third generation.  However, unlike me (and for whatever reason) she had gone a route that i very well could have myself.  Her attitude towards the Latino community was actually one of annoyance and disdain.  She felt that with her education and skill-set that she had actually surpassed what being Mexican was all about.

It’s interesting to think about because in order for her to feel as she did, she accepted the basic premise of “being Mexican” that i heartedly deny.  This is that there is a specific way to “be Mexican”: That Mexicans are low skill, low salary earning people with little hope of potential. Any advancement by a Mexican was not actually an improvement of he or she as a Mexican but, instead, a disregard of their Mexican self in place of a White-American self.

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Posted in LGBT, Politics, Race & Identity, Third Generation Series, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Is the Party Over?

Posted by Roobs on June 9, 2010

If politics was a bar (lets be honest, we are all drinking) then Prop 14 would be the equivalent of the bartender yelling “last call!”

Prop 14 establishes an open primary in California. Essentially, it will be like having two general elections. The first general election is a “qualifying round” where only the top 2 candidates with the most votes in each race will face off in the November general election, regardless of party affiliation. So potentially two Democrats or two Republicans could battle it out in a November election for the their respective seats.

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Today is Election Day!!

Posted by Roobs on June 8, 2010

Show me your game face California!!  It’s Election Day!!

Today is election day in California and i just want to remind everyone to go out and VOTE!!

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Confessions of a Third Generation Latino: Walking Through Ivory

Posted by Roobs on June 8, 2010

This is the 4th post in a series.  For my previous post, click here.  This post focuses on my time away from the Central Valley while i attended college and my evolving outlook towards my place in the Latino community.

Walking Through Ivory

Before i left for college, my father passed away.  It was in the summer before the start of my senior year at Redwood High when he finally succumbed to liver cancer.  My father left a large imprint on my life, especially on my views of who I am in relation to being Latino and I still wish today that he had lived long enough to hear me come out as a gay young man .  My father grew up on a farm outside of Visalia and hated it.  He left home to pursue a career that made him equally a target to the more fundamental characteristics of local Mexicans.  But he beleived that he didn’t have to be anything for anyone except himself and his family.  Perhaps it was something that he developed later on in life; further along than the stage of life i am in now.  But perhaps it too began in college and at one of the same universities I would soon enter.

Redwood High, has about 2,000 students every year and more than half of that population is Latino.  Unfortunately, district wide, Visalia has a 1/3 drop-out rate in grades 9-12.  In my high school class a lot of those who made it to graduation did initially take off to college.  A good number of them attend the local community college: College of the Sequoias.  I haven’t found any data on this specifically but anecdotally, a good number of those students who leave for college usually return to Visalia before completing a 4-year degree.  Many of those who do leave home attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (SLO).  The joke around most high school campuses in Visalia is that SLO is a lot like Visalia except near water.  I did not attend SLO.

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Posted in LGBT, Race & Identity, Third Generation Series | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »